I am a former Rethinking Construction project manager, and from my experience the targets published by the strategic forum and Constructing Excellence beg a question or two.
For starters, how many of the previously published targets have the Forum, M4i, Rethinking Construction et al ever nailed on the head? An audit would likely prove that few, if any, targets have been fully achieved. Instead targets are adjusted to keep the figure suitably out of reach, so as to keep the funding flowing from the DTI and various member organisations.
Bodies such as the forum are perpetuated by people and organisations within levels of the industry that are doing just fine, thanks. The largest demographic group in the industry is consistently ignored or treated as an afterthought: the tradesmen. The Lenards and Rogers of this world have consistently overestimated their own impact on the industry.
How does the forum's boffins expect to ensure (let alone measure) that 50% of projects are completed by integrated project teams when they are still arguing about what an integrated team actually is? Who is to be the arbiter of what is a fully trained and competent workforce? Someone from the workforce would be best placed, but I hold out little hope that they'd get a look in. Tradesmen, contractors, builders – call them what you will – are not the problem. Construction "professionals" are the ones who are perpetuating out-of-date practices.
So I'd like to propose a new target for the forum: by this time next year the construction industry will be free of self-important talking shops that can't clearly justify why they exist, and constructors can get on with the business of constructing.
Brian DeGeer, project manager, via email.